Archive for the ‘ Debates ’ Category

There are the Jehovah’s Witness claims that the entire Christian church has always been wrong about, well, almost everything. Except for those few ECFs they could massage into some sort of superficial agreement, of course. Mormonism likewise asserts that all churches ceased to be true churches rather quickly following Christ’s ascension. Islam, with it’s idea of scriptural supercessionism and their revisionist version of what the Scriptures actually are, or taught, have a similar view of Christianity as a whole. It’s much the same with any other warmed-over historical error – be they large, as the wholesale replacement religions seen above – or be they smaller, specific, targeted errors like conditionalism/annihilationism, with their aberrant views within anthropology and eschatology.

In both cases, the assertion is made that despite the fact that we are told the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church, in Matthew 16:18 – they did in fact, prevail in some specific sense – be that in a wholesale fashion, or in a specific area. In the case of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is some attempt to try to support their claims from the ECFs (failing miserably upon any detailed examination), but in the case of Mormonism, there is usually the flat assertion that the church was essentially defeated entirely for 1700 years or more. Islam’s claims are far more modest, despite the more militant nature of the religion as a whole. In the specific case we’re addressing, the assertion is made that the church, in a practically universal fashion, has lost entirely what is supposed to be meant by “Hell” – and we must “rethink” Hell to somehow recover the original beliefs as taught in the Scriptures, but were “hijacked” by one or more foreign belief systems. Your mileage may vary. Sure, there are books like “The Conditionalist Faith of our Fathers” – but like any other book of this kind, the assertions therein are quite similar to those made by the Arians, the Pelagians, the Romanists, the Socinians, or the Landmarkers; “There have always been people who believed what we believed!” Athanasius addressed such claims, as did Augustine, and their respective counterparts throughout church history, defending the Christian faith. Whether we are dealing with the trail of blood, the trail of Racovian models of theology, the trail of Papal authority, the recurrence of Pelagianism, or even of Arianism, there is always recourse made to either “brave dissenters” throughout history, when it is clear that their position was not that of the universal church, or in the case of positions like that of Romanism, that it was always the majority view – even at times when their church did not exist as the current entity – such as during its period as a multiple-elder ruled body – which can be quite an interesting subject of study, incidentally.

Similarly, volumes such as “The Conditionalist Faith of our Fathers” try to recruit early church fathers, or famous figures to their cause, and then proceed to ransack the annals of church history for any and every viewpoint that could possibly accord with their position in some fashion. What is also tiptoed around, at least in some evangelical circles, is that Froom himself is a Seventh-Day Adventist. Although considered by many in the general evangelical community to be “orthodox” – is considered to be “unorthodox” by many in the conservative side of that community, and to be a cult by a significant minority. This cannot be de-emphasized when the appeal is so often made to the “Protestant” heritage of the SDAs. Even Fudge’s book does a bit of “recruiting” in the ECFs, and it’s essentially a topical overview of the subject, if not from an SDA perspective, but a (generally) Church of Christ background. What isn’t clearly depicted, however, is that they are pulling a few dozen or so names from a cast of hundreds of thousands of historical writers, and that those who share their position are typically the only ones who think many of these ECFs were saying anything of the sort. What is even more often neglected is that many, if not most of their supporting cast they appeal to beyond the ECFs were themselves members of a great variety of historical heresies – where there were bigger fish to fry when dealing with their various problematic theological positions. For instance – do you address the Socinian adherence to an Arian view of Christ first, or their aberrant view of Hell? Quite obviously, the answer is the former. When dealing with heresies, you must do triage. When you address Millerites – what do you deal with first? It’s not quite as simple as “this has never been addressed before” – it’s also not quite as simple as “conditionalism hasn’t had a thorough response,” either. Conditionalism as distinct from other heretical views is a fairly recent phenomenon. How does this matter?

As has long been recognized by theologians, positions are refined and obtain precision through apologetic engagement. Christology was refined by Arianism’s challenges, and the challenges of Docetism and Nestorianism at Nicaea, First Ephesus and Chalcedon. Trinitarianism has always been refined by challenges from Unitarianism, the nature of man’s slavery to sin refined by the challenges from Pelagianism and it’s natural heirs, and, of course, Justification was given elegant refinement by the Reformation’s disputes with Romanism. Apologetic encounters with the challengers to orthodoxy is nothing new, nor is it original with the modern church. In fact, it is something that has always served as tempering for our doctrinal steel. What must be remembered is that Conditionalism and the oft-resulting Annihilationist credo is nothing new to the annals of the church’s apologetic encounters, either. What makes it an interesting study is the frequent pairing it seems to have with other heretical views. Compared to the denial of the deity of Christ the Socinians made, their ideas concerning conditionalism seem rather trivial in comparison. Unitarian denials of eternal damnation seem rather mild in comparison to their denials of the Trinity, similarly.

It should be noted, however, that the idea of an otherwise “orthodox” conditionalist or annihilationist is a rather modern conception. Why is this the case? Even granting Pinnock’s claim, for the sake of argument, that the belief in eternal damnation was fixed in the 6th century, that leaves how much of church history with practically every adherent to Christianity with no earthly idea what the Bible teaches about Hell? Such an argument proves entirely too much for even the “general evangelical” to stomach when seen in those terms. The resort to “traditionalism” as the favored explanation for this practically universal ignorance smacks entirely too much of the revisionist histories of the LDS and the Watchtower. Church history does not allow us such ghastly, lasting rents in the fabric of historic orthodoxy. Even in the Roman communion there was always the Pauline/Augustinian emphasis on Sola Scriptura in at least some fashion – as well as the persistent, recurrent witnesses to justification by faith, and the persistent, nagging memory of days in the history of the church where one bishop could not set himself up above the rest. The Roman version of church history simply does not accurately portray what actually transpired – and neither does the conditionalist version of events in church history.

One reason that there has been fairly little in response to the conditionalist case in church history is that there is no distinctive conditionalism in church history, even as we see it in chiefly centered in today’s modern Anglicanism, General Baptists, and the doctrinal descendants of certain strains of Millerism. Anglicanism and the Particular Baptists churches had a serious bout of trouble with Unitarianism/Socinianism that they have never fully recovered from. The Presbyterians and Particular Baptists contemporary with the English Unitarians (often called Socinians) went to great lengths to address this movement, as we should expect from the doctrinal heirs of the Reformation; but Anglicanism and the General Baptists did not fare nearly as well. Anglicanism fared far better than the General Baptists – who were all but destroyed by the inroads of Unitarian influence, and are effectively scattered wholesale into other groups – but the influences are still seen to the present day, despite their attempts to curb that influence. In the Americas, the Millerite movement, born of disaffected members of a number of denominations, spawned a great number of sects which show a distinct influence of the conditionalist influences – which I submit to you is due to the leavening of General Baptist and Methodist Anglican thought in the Millerite movement, the descendants of which have elements scattered throughout more mainstream channels of evangelicalism. Members of the Millerite movement with conditionalist stances also influenced Russell, the founder of the Bible Student movement, which became the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The fracturing of the Millerite movement is complicated and laborious to track – but there are common themes to be seen throughout, if you take the time to do so.

In summary, you will notice that there has not been a distinctly “otherwise orthodox” conditionalist movement until very recent times. When a particular subject is made the center of controversy, that is when the apologetic response is most fully brought to bear. Since it is a thoroughly Biblical picture, let’s use some military references to illustrate what we mean. When a front is not central to, but peripheral to the the main theatre of warfare, the troops assigned to that front are sufficient to “hold the line” in skirmishes. The more pressure that is brought to bear on that front, the more troops are assigned to it, and the more attention is given to the defense of that area. Far from demonstrating that we need to “rethink Hell” – the lack of a thoroughgoing apologetic response in church history demonstrates most clearly that there has not been much of an assault made on this position. When not coupled with other heretical views more in need of a response, there has been vanishingly little historical “push” on the topic of Hell. My prediction, hope and prayer is that the desire of modern annihilationists to make this subject a central focus will have the effect it has always had in the history of the church – to cause the opposite of their intent in bringing that sequence of events about. There will not be a “rethinking” of Hell – but a “refinement” of the historic doctrine which more clearly and more precisely outlines the Scriptural teaching on the subject, and again vindicates the Scriptural promise that the church will not be left rudderless, or the Spirit without a witness to the truth, and the Scriptures without right division. A lack of precision on a subject has never been a sign of a lack of orthodox agreement – it has been a sign of a quiet front, on the whole. Such is the history of apologetic disputation, and as such we can be confident that this historical sequence will transpire yet again. It is whenever orthodoxy gets pushed that there is a cohesive, controlled, and coordinated response to that push. I hope that the annihilationists do push the way they say they will. That’s what engenders the responses that improve precision and detail.

Just for fun

One of the disadvantages of having an eclectic position is that you might be the only one who holds that position, and the first to use the words you use. Case in point:

“be slaughtered, never to live again”

“lifeless, unconscious corpses”

Reminiscent of StrongBad:

“For death metal, you have to scream from the bowels of your lungs; words like decay, deranged, decrepit,and… um, deloused.”

“Creeping, rusty, meat. Truly the heart and soul of all death metal.”

What is propitiation? That was one of the central elements of the Reformation of doctrine, and one of the most problematic issues in the modern Evangelical movement today. It has to do with many, many areas of theology, and we can’t possibly cover them exhaustively in a single blog post. But in a nutshell, what is it? In a nutshell, it is the “turning away of,” “appeasement” or “satisfaction for” the wrath of God due sinners. It is, therefore, intimately bound up to our notion of what the wrath of God actually is. It is bound up with sacrifice, atonement, substitution, holiness, sin, and many, many other subjects – to include the attributes of God, as we’ve already noted. With it having such a central place in our theology, the smallest misstep will have far-reaching consequences throughout.

If we are to talk about the wrath of God, are we to speak of it as something incidental to God, or as an attribute of God? It surely cannot be something incidental to Him. It is something He is said to possess; “My wrath”[1], and it is just as often called the “wrath of God”, or “of the Lord”. It is said to be magnified by the frequent use of modifiers such as “great”. God’s name is great, His power and strength is great, He is great in mercy, lovingkindness, and holiness. All of these likewise belong to God, and are affirmed of Him, then so must Wrath belong to God, and be affirmed of Him. It is one of His attributes.

If, as we have seen, it is an attribute of God, then it must be addressed per Divine Simplicity. Under Divine Simplicity, the wrath of God is omnipotent, immutable, eternal, sovereign, just, a se, infinite and holy.

Further, it must also be noted that it is not the natures of Christ that were our substitute, it was the Person of Christ – namely, the 2nd Person of the Trinity. If we are to say that He was our substitute, we must say that it was the God-man that was our substitute. We must also note the connection with this being the case alongside the nature of the wrath of God. Gill:

Eternity it not of the essence of punishment; and only takes place when the person punished cannot bear the whole at once: and being finite, as sinful man is, cannot make satisfaction to the infinite Majesty of God, injured by sin, the demerit of which is infinite punishment: and as that cannot be bore at once by a finite creature, it is continued ad infinitum; but Christ being an infinite Person, was able to bear the whole at once; and the infinity of his Person, abundantly compensates for the eternity of the punishment.

Let me add a few more notes, here. Gill, above the quote given here, notes

that Christ was ‘put to death in the flesh;’ as the apostle expresses it (1 Pet. 3:18), that is, in the body; that only suffered death; not his soul, that died not; but was commended into the hands of his divine Father: nor his Deity, or divine nature, which was impassible, and not capable of suffering death; and yet the body of Christ suffered death, in union with his divine person; hence the Lord of glory is said to be crucified and God is said to purchase the church with his blood (1 Cor. 2:8; Acts 20:28). And the death of Christ, as the death of other men, lay in the disunion of, or in a dissolution of the union between soul and body; these two were parted for a while; the one was commended to God in heaven; the other was laid in the grave: but hereby he was not reduced to a state of non-existence, as say the Socinians; his soul was with God in paradise; and his body, when taken from the cross, was laid in a sepulchre, and where it saw no corruption.

We cannot say that only one nature of Christ suffered, or we 1) Deny the union of Christ’s natures as expressed in Scripture, and formulated at Chalcedon, or 2) Deny, at least potentially, that Christ was our actual substitute, in His Person; we also cannot say that both natures suffered in the same fashion, however, at risk of 1) Denying the nature of God as immutable, impassible, eternal, and immaterial or 2) Violate the Creature/Creator distinction hypostatically. The Divine nature is immutable, impassible, immaterial, and eternal; hence not subject to the decay and corruption of death. It was, however, that one infinitely Divine Person who suffered the wrath of God. Not both natures alike, but both natures in union, and in concert, according to their nature. What the simply human cannot suffer immediately, the Divine Person, as Gill notes, did. Not equally in both natures, as the natures are not equal. This is a very, very complex subject, and we cannot treat it lightly. We cannot, on the one hand, attribute too much to mystery if it has, in fact, been revealed; but we cannot, on the other hand, speculate on things not revealed, and call them as such, if they are mysteries – so we must toe a very precise line. We must do so carefully, reverently, and studiously, lest we either take too much upon ourselves, or not enough.

It was not merely one nature which took the wrath of God upon Himself; else, we would be throwing out Chalcedon just as easily as Fudge does, if from a different perspective. We must ask ourselves – what was the point of it being the God-man who came if it was only the human nature which was under that wrath? We must also face the theological implications of passages such as “Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” Only with a full-orbed Christology, a full-orbed Theology Proper, a full-orbed Anthropology and a full-orbed Soteriology can we have a full-orbed Eschatology. The one demands all of the others. A lack of concentration on theology as an organic, cohesive whole spells disaster for our theology, and the apologetic which flows from it.

This outpouring of the Wrath of God against sinners is something which must be addressed if we are to speak of the propitiation for those sinners, or of Christ’s substitution for those sinners. What it was that was suffered is intrinsic to our idea of propitiation. The nature of the God-man is something that cannot be overlooked if we are to deal with his propitiatory sacrifice on the behalf of his people. The nature of substitution, in a precise manner, is also something we cannot pass over. In short, this further shows that a modification of one element of CT has a great, if not catastrophic, effect on the rest of our theology and doctrine, if we see that doctrine as it truly is – an organic whole.

  1. [1] 2Ki 22:17, 2Chr 12:7, Psa 2:12, 6:1, 76:10, 78:38, 102:10, 106:23, Isa 34:2, 48:9, 60:10, 63:3,5,6, Jer 4:4, 7:20, 21:12, Eze 5:13, 6:12, 7:14, Hsa 5:10, 13:11,

Debate Announcement

On Februrary 5th, I will be debating Roman Catholic Dan Marcum (a Skype debate) on the proposition “Sola Scriptura is an essential Christian doctrine, and necessary for instruction in faith and practice“. My goal is to argue this proposition presuppositionally. I’m planning on a couple of podcasts in the near future to give the audience some preparation, and to ensure my opponent knows where I’m standing, going into the debate, so stay tuned.

Debate: Saturday, Oct 2nd

The debate is as 12pm EDT – you can get directions to the chat channel it’s being held in here. The thesis: “Is the Qur’an the Word of God?”

This is video from last year’s Arabic Festival. It’s rather stunning.

I’m posting this because this year, David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi have been arrested at the Arabic Festival. I don’t have any more details at this time, but please pray for these brothers. David is scheduled to debate twice tomorrow at the same venue as Dr. White is debating Sunday and Monday. Please pray for them, and for the debates this weekend. More info can be found here.

Dear Dr. Caner

I appreciate you taking the time to write your statement earlier today, as well as the irenic spirit you assayed in it. I want you to know that I appreciate that you did so, as a Southern Baptist – and that I do appreciate the work you do, despite our disagreement in many matters.

While I am appreciative, I think it may be useful – for you, and for the brethren, to clarify a few matters.

Item 1): The “motive”, to borrow your own phrase, was not to question your conversion. In fact, your conversion, as far as I know, was never referenced or questioned in the vast majority of the *Christian* articles/blogs that negatively referenced your comments on The Pastor’s Perspective, the discrepancies in your testimonials, or your recollections of life as a Muslim. I, for instance, do not question at all that you were raised Muslim, or that you converted to Christianity. What was rendered suspect was whether you were a *devout* Muslim – especially the discrepancy noted with the Shahada.

Item 2): To most of us, the pronunciation issues were a minor head-scratcher, but nothing more. In fact, one of the team bloggers at AOMin.org – TurretinFan – publicly defended you on those allegations on the most public Christian post leveled at that topic. As you may know, Muslims, Roman Catholics, atheists, and others often tout their conversions from “Protestantism,” and often inflate their level of devotion and knowledge – we call it “conversion story syndrome”. Yusuf Estes, Tim Staples, and Dan Barker are good examples of this tendency. While this may not be the case for you – there were many of the hallmarks of similar cases implied by the discrepancies noted – and it caused concern.

Item 3): You state: “Being called a “liar,” however, is a serious charge, especially when it is made by Christians. That would indicate that (1) the accusers can know the motives of the accused person’s heart, and (2) the accused person intentionally misled people.”

With all due respect, by those standards, no man can ever be called a liar, save by God. Also with due respect, by any objective standard, I would hold forth the following statements: “Calvinists are worse than Muslims” and “Formal debates have been taken over a lot by myopic Reformed guys, uh, they try to turn it into these little, uh, show ponies, it’s like the Jerry Springer Show, basically, and there’s really not any real discussion going on, there’s rolling of eyes, its huffing and passive/aggressive garbage.” Dr. Caner, both of these statements may be your opinion – but they are hardly the truth. Since they are not the truth, what else may we call them? Couple that with your statements on hyper-calvinism, and we can take nothing out of that series of comments but that we are being systematically misrepresented.

I do not offer these criticisms lightly, nor do I offer them glibly. I’m honestly commenting with the intent that it may be evident that I offer them to further your understanding of why you are being criticized by those who hold to Reformed doctrines and a Reformed apologetic method. Above all, we seek to be consistent – theologically, and apologetically. If we do not question the facts presented by those on our side as we do those opposing us, we cannot help but be inconsistent, and rightly criticized by our opponents on that basis. While I understand that you appear to fully belief what you state about Calvinists – understand that what you criticize as “hyper-calvinism” is simple, historic Reformed belief. What is recently called “moderate” Calvinism by folks like Dr. Geisler is nothing like the historic Calvinism of ANY of the Reformed branches.

I am “Reformed” – one of the group you criticized – and I’ve had one moderated debate – whether it was “formal” is debatable, as it was online. Nonetheless, Dr. White, and other Reformed debaters are being classified as engaging in nothing but “passive-aggressive garbage”, “no real discussion”, and “the Jerry Springer Show”. I’m sorry, but I’ve watched a great many debates – and debates like Dr. White’s with Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, or Shabir Ally were anything but “no real discussion”, or “huffing”! I don’t think I was engaging in “eye rolling” or “no real discussion” when I engaged a young atheist man on the topic of “The Triune God of Scripture is the grounds for all knowledge” – as is clearly stated in Col 2:3!

Enough criticism, however. So that you can know that there are areas of agreement – I completely agree with your position concerning the CAMEL method. For nearly identical reasons. I support you 100% in your statement of opposition to it, and thank you for your public statement concerning it’s dangers. I appreciate many things about your ministry, and service, despite our theological differences.

In closing – let me again thank you for your statement, and the attempt to mend a breach. It IS appreciated, despite the criticisms offered above, and I don’t want to detract from that. My earnest desire is that this is taken constructively, and that there might be an honest attempt to mend fences with your Reformed brethren in the SBC and without. You aren’t going to change our mind about the glorious doctrines of God’s sovereign grace – but please be aware – we aren’t questioning your salvation, or your conversion by questioning your consistency. We’re as likely to question one of our own on those grounds as we are anyone else. We do not do so to cast aspersions on their character – but to safeguard the reputation of the God we serve and love – as, I believe, do you, however mistaken we believe you to be concerning what you defend at times.

For your edification, I’d encourage you to look at the following: “Open Letter to Ergun Caner.”

The Possibility of Middle Knowledge

I’m going to include the transcript of a discussion I had (along with several others) with a Middle Knowledge proponent that frequents AOMin’s chat channel. The reason I do so is in order to give an example of how the argument I advanced recently functions in an actual discussion.

The discussion was fairly wide-ranging, but I think demonstrates the ability of a consistent return to the nature of God as the foundation of a reply to the assertions advanced by proponents of MK and other similar philosophical systems, over against the Biblical conception of God’s nature and the modal collapse I feel this outlook necessitates.

Discussion linked below.
Read the rest of this entry

Debate Transcript

Debate: Is the Triune God of the Scriptures the basis for knowledge?

Affirmative: RazorsKiss

Negative: MitchLeBlanc

RazorsKiss:

1. Introduction

* 1. I’d like to thank Mitch, and all the folks at Urban Philosophy, for hosting the debate this evening, and I’d like to compliment Mitch for his willingness to debate such vital issues. I am no sort of scholar – which I admit – but I would also be the first to tell anyone present that the pursuit of knowledge is something which every human being should be engaged. Where my opponent and I differ, I do believe, is how to properly go about doing just that! I hope and pray that those who watch this discussion will at least take in what they see, and examine it, as the Bereans did in Acts. My earnest desire is that those who watch this exchange will be edified, educated at some point, and perhaps able to more correctly understand where I, at least, am coming from.
* 2. First, the resolution. As I am the affirmative, I get the pleasure of the definition! “The Triune God of Scripture is the proper ground for all knowledge.” I firmly hold to the validity of this proposition, and further, to its ability to explain all of reality as an epistemological basis. For, you see, I’m a Christian. Christians, per their own Scripture, must be humble. They must not be proud, or haughty – or look down at others from their pedestal of superiority. As a Christian, I fully realize that of myself – I’m no different from any other man alive. I share the same Image, which I am created to reflect – and I share the same nature. A human nature. I am a creature – the product of the pinnacle of workmanship of the Creator of all things.
* 3. Since I am a creature, I do not need to be concerned about being my own basis. I need no such concern as a chair needs no such concern about its basis. It has a Creator, as do I! As a Christian, there is a fundamental difference in my thinking – and if I am correct, there is a fundamental problem with the way the entire world thinks about the basis for their own knowledge. I have heard the claim to “arrogance” before. If I ever state something on my own behalf, I will grant that such an accusation is justified. Should I comport myself rudely, as if I am superior, or as if I think myself to be who I am because I am somehow higher – I request that you point this out. However, as a creature – I claim to have a basis for my knowledge which is utterly higher, and transcendently greater than I, or any other human being can ever hope to be.
* 4. Since my claim is not based on myself, but upon a self-revelation from the Triune God described in Scripture – the claim in this case is on the behalf of another. It is conceivable I suppose, to call a perfect Being arrogant for claiming to be your Creator; to own you and the dust of the earth man was formed from It is another thing to assert that His claim to ownership is unwarranted. If what I say is true – God owns you. He owns me. He owns every particle of matter, every joule of energy; established every law we think in accordance with, and ordained every law which governs the world we exist in, at His good pleasure. In short, ladies and gentlemen; if I am correct – and God did do what His Word reveals Him to have accomplished – then every possible foundation for every way of thinking not in accordance with His perfect ordinance is utter, absolute folly.
* 5. My intent is to demonstrate that there is no other epistemological basis that can possibly compare to that possessed by a Christian holding the self-revelation of the Triune God. My goal is to show that any worldview attempting to argue from other than the Christian foundation is, in fact, borrowing from that foundation to do so. That any worldview asserting some sort of “objective” basis for the laws of logic specifically, but for nature and morality as well – is pure subjectivism wrapped up in an objective shell consisting of concepts stolen from their Creator. Concepts like universals. Universals which are abstract, binding, have inherent meaning, and apply to every person – whether they like them to, or WANT them to or not. They apply nonetheless.
* 6. Without the assumption of these universals, there is no coherent communication possible We assume that when we speak, there is a being we are speaking to, with corresponding cognitive processes, having the ability to reason, and possessing the capacity to make conclusions, based upon our communication with them. I have yet to see an epistemological basis which accounts for universals in any satisfying manner. I have a Guarantor which is self-existent, self-sufficient, able to communicate, omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, and sovereign. This grounds for our epistemology, I argue, is the only proper one.
* 2) Epistemology
* 1. When we encounter words like “epistemology”, there is a tendency to make them mysterious – to make it something only the initiated can truly understand. I disagree. Epistemology is the subject at hand every time a child asks you “why”. This endless chain of questions will eventually have a terminator. Where those questions end is where I think you’ll find your epistemological foundation. Why do we know what we know? How do we know? How is this knowledge acquired? What is this knowledge? On what basis do we know it? By what standard? On what (or whose) authority? Those questions are the realm of our discussion.
* 2. “The method of reasoning by presupposition may be said to be indirect, rather than direct. The issue between believers and nonbelievers in Christian theism cannot be settled by a direct appeal to “facts” or “laws” whose nature and significance is already agreed upon by both parties to the debate. The question is rather as to what the final reference point required to make the “facts” and “laws” intelligible. The question is as to what the “facts” and “laws” really are.’ (Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, 122) As is said elsewhere, by the same author; “We cannot ask how we know without at the same time asking what we know.” (Van Til, Van Til’s Apologetic, 105) In other words – the question of epistemology is central to any consideration of rational discourse. What, how, and why do you know? To go elsewhere before this is addressed, is to beg the question in the favour of your own epistemology.
* 3. So, to answer that question, we are discussing the deep things of knowledge – in fact, we are discussing whether what we think we know, is truly knowledge at all. Still further, we are questioning everything we think is a justification for the knowledge we claim to hold. Since, as Scripture says, I have “the full assurance of understanding, {resulting} in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, {that is,} Christ {Himself,}in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” – I can say, with perfect certainty, that the Triune God of Scripture is not only the proper grounds for all knowledge – but the only possible grounds for all knowledge! I will develop that further in my statement tonight, but my goal is to demonstrate that any epistemology not grounded in that self-existent, self-sufficient perfection of Being is utterly insufficient grounds for knowledge.
* 3) Proper Epistemology
* 1. First, let me remind my opponent, and my audience, that there are no brute facts. Facts are not neutral entities, and they cannot be interpreted in a neutral fashion. This is because facts can only exist in relation to other facts; further, without exception these are interpreted with reference to still other facts. This shows knowledge is interrelated and further shows that facts cannot be interpreted outside of your epistemology, which is a network of assumptions that the one holding that worldview considers to be true.
* 2. Therefore, as philosophers, we have to consider the meaning of the facts – or the concepts – we examine. Those meanings are inseparable from our epistemological foundation. When we think about anything, we are forced to place it into our interpretive grid. We judge all facts through the “prism of our epistemology”, in fact. Here is where I get to the heart of my position.
* 3. As a Christian, I have two axiomatic, interrelated foundations for my epistemology, and for everything else I encounter through the grid of that epistemology. The Triune God of Scripture – who created the universe and all it contains; who established and even now maintains the laws which govern that creation. That is foundation one.
* 4. The self-revelation of that self-existent, self-conscious, self-sufficient, omniscient, omnipotent, all-wise, immutable, eternal, and sovereign God; The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, are the self-communication of the extent, nature, and specifics of His eternal properties – which are the guarantor of the laws and assumptions which we, as creatures in the image of that God, require to operate rationally and coherently. That is foundation 2.
* 5. From those two foundations, I am able to make a rational examination of the facts I encounter, while having warrant for the knowledge I possess. Christians have the privilege of certainty. A certainty based on the most fundamental guarantor of truth. Further, as a Christian, my claim is necessarily exclusive. By the same logical laws we all recognize to be applicable, for whatever reason, a proposition cannot be true when the contrary of that proposition is true. Given Christianity’s exclusive claim – its claim to a self-existent, self-sufficient, universal, and absolute standard – any claimant contrary to Christian epistemology is therefore denied by definition.
* 6. From the position of Christian epistemology, there is more than ample justification to hold the true beliefs we hold. There is self-existence, which then guarantees all contingent existence. There is omnipotence, which can guarantee the absolute authority of God over all His creation, including willing and thinking creatures. There is the omniscience and self-knowledge of God, which guarantees that what His creatures can know is intelligible – that creatures can, in fact, derivatively know the facts about His creation, and those facts that He reveals about Himself. There is the internal “sense”, that Calvin calls the “sensus divinitatus,” which all men possess, as image-bearers of their Creator – and which allow them to recognize the God that they even sometimes deny.
* 7. However, this leads us to a question. Can someone without the axioms that Christians hold “know” anything? As defined, no. They can’t. They do not have a justification for their beliefs. However, they themselves do have true beliefs – which do, in many cases, result in success. In a sense, they do have knowledge. Not because of their epistemology – but despite it. In these cases, they are simply creatures forced to admit that despite the incoherence of their epistemology, they do, in fact, know things anyway.
* 4) The Impossibility of the Contrary
* 1. So, now we get to where the rubber meets the road. If I claim that non-Christians can have knowledge at all, even if it is faulty knowledge – doesn’t my argument fall apart? I don’t think this is necessitated. What the Christian position alone can guarantee is any contribution to knowledge whatsoever. “However, the presuppositionalist maintains that the unbeliever can come to know certain things (despite his espoused rejection of God’s truth) for the simple reason that he does have revealed presuppositions – and cannot but have them as a creature made in God’s image and living in God’s created world. Although he outwardly and vehemently denies the truth of God, no unbeliever is inwardly and sincerely devoid of the knowledge of God. It is not a saving knowledge of God to be sure, but even as condemning knowledge natural revelation still provides a knowledge of God. Thus, according to Biblical epistemology, while men deny their Creator they nevertheless possess an inescapable knowledge of Him; and because they know God (even though they know Him in curse and reprobation) they are able to attain a limited understanding of the world.” (Bahnsen, Always Ready, pg38)
* 2. What my claim really entails is that an unbeliever, trying to start from a position of epistemic autonomy, is like a child who sits on his father’s lap – and uses that position for the purpose of slapping his father in the face. The fundamental disconnect I see in secular epistemology (and Christians who use that same epistemology) is the universal lack of a solution from unbelieving philosophy for problems like that of induction, the one and the many, whether the will is free, and the like. Christianity has an answer for these – provided the Christian answers them from Scriptural revelation, and does not adopt the same principles that unbelieving philosophy does. It is even more so a problem for the unbeliever – because he doesn’t even have (not always asserted, but always present to some degree) the epistemological foundation of the Christian. An unbelieving man has no justification for his predication. He has no basis for his use of logical laws. After all, wherefore and whence do these laws get their justification? There is no area in which his thoughts, ideas or concepts can be said to be properly grounded. With feet planted firmly in midair, he asserts his autonomy over his own thinking, and his self-sufficiency for the use of that thinking!
* 3. This thinking is dangerous – to the unbeliever, and to everyone else. It is little more than, as many assert, self-worship. If the unbeliever thinks he is the ultimate, not simply the immediate basis for epistemology – I see no possible way for that assertion to be justified. (The unbeliever) “thinks that his thinking process is normal. He thinks that his mind is the final court of appeal in all matters of knowledge. He takes himself to be the reference point for all interpretation of the facts. That is, he has epistemologically become a law unto himself: autonomous.” (Always Ready, 46) It is like the famous (and farcical) story of the scientists who discover how to create life from common dirt! Excited, they suddenly stop – A voice challenges them – “I doubt you can.” “All right, then” (say the scientists) – “we will!” As they pick up shovels, they stop again, as the voice says “No, no. Get your own dirt.” This is what reasoning is like without the foundation of God’s self-existence, known through His self-revelation. It is a man trying to justify his “own” knowledge – when everything he encounters – including himself, belongs to God. The very idea is utterly absurd. Since it is impossible to have knowledge on any other basis, save that of God’s intrinsic nature and self-communication of the properties of that nature – it is impossible for any human system of reasoning to have justification at all. In short, Christianity’s epistemology is the only epistemology possible – because it’s impossible to have any other coherent, true, and justified basis for thought, perception, knowledge, or understanding of ourselves, or the creation in which we dwell.

MitchLeBlanc:

Before I begin, I must tell you that I will be making use of philosophical arguments, in the form of syllogisms. This may be new for a few of you, in which case I invite you to follow along as best you can.

In our discussion this evening, RK will attempt to show that the very foundations of knowledge depend upon the Christian God and that any reasoning which does not presuppose the Christian God is arbitrary and descents into absurdity. RK’s position states that I enter into to reasoned discourse with my own set of presuppositions that exclude the Christian God. In doing so, the internal consistency of my logical system fails and as such does my ability to accept God’s existence, since my presuppositions limit what I will accept as evidence. Does this mean I cannot reason? No, presuppositionalists do not assert this, however, they do assert that my use of reason is contingent on their God and I am just wilfully ignorant to his existence.

First, as with any discussion of this type we need a solid definition of God. RK asserts that the Christian God is the basis for all knowledge, but what IS the Christian God? How can we define it?

There is a clear ontological error in the proposition of God. It is proposed that the Christian God is supernatural. I am unsure as to how one is supposed to interpret this description of God. This is not a positive definition, but a negative definition. “supernatural” or “immaterial” tells us what God is not (natural/material). Something that can only be explained in negative terms, is meaningless. The very definition of “being” is to have attributes, this requires more than simply non-attributes. Furthermore, the proposed positive attributes of God fail in execution. The positive attributes we apply to God are simply attributes which apply to human beings, we just extrapolate them. Human beings can be loving, but god is all-loving. Human beings can know, but god is all-knowing. How can we know that God (whatever it may be) is even capable of love, or knowledge.

As the Philosopher George Smith explains:

“All of the supposedly positive qualities of God arise in a distinctively human context of finite existence, and when wrenched from this context to apply to a supernatural being, they cease to have meaning.”

But the problem is direr than that, consider when I ask “What is a banana?”… giving me answers of the characteristics of the banana don’t do much to help me. Hearing that it is long, yellow, soft doesn’t do provide any cognitive meaning whatsoever. Smith again says (with unie representing a variable needing definition):

“To say that an ‘unie’ possesses wisdom in proportion to its nature-while stipulating that such wisdom is different in kind from man’s wisdom and that the nature of an ‘unie’ is unknowable-contributes nothing to our understanding of ‘unie’ or to the meaning of the attributes when applied to an ‘unie.’

To say that God is ‘good’ or ‘wise’ is to say nothing more than some unknowable being possesses some unknown qualities in an unknowable way.”

It simply does not seem that there is any cognitive meaning associated with purporting the term “God”. To purport that god is infinite, limitless and immaterial tells us what God is not, and never verges on explaining what he is.

With this issue established and set aside for the sake of furthering the discussion, let me move on to the crux of issue. What will be henceforth be referred to as the “Transcendental Argument for God” or TAG.

While I do not consider the transcendental argument an actual argument in the form presented (it appears more as a bare assertion), we must understand precisely what is being said.

When it is said that logic presupposes God it is meant that A presupposes B in the sense that we could not reason A without assuming B. However, it is important to note that even if to make sense of A one must assume B, it does not follow that B is true.

The Philosopher Michael Martin gives the following example:

“if I am trying to communicate to an audience by speaking to them in English, my action makes no sense unless they understand English. But it does not follow that they do. They might only understand Chinese. Scientists listening to radio signals from outer space in order to make contact with extraterrestrial life presuppose that such life is possible. But it does not follow that it is. Similarly… if the Christian worldview is presupposed by the deductive validity, it does not follow that the Christian worldview is true. It might be the case that deductive validity is a myth. TAG would not establish the truth of the Christian worldview but only the inconsistency of atheists who presuppose deductive validity.”

I think the example is clear enough, but it should be noted once more. TAG cannot establish the truth of God’s existence, only the inconsistency of atheists who hold a presupposition regarding deductive logic.

There is another manner in which the TAG asserts presuppositionalism. We have seen the first, that A presupposes B in that one cannot make sense of A without B.. but consider:

A presupposes B meaning that A logically implies B. This means that if A presupposes B, one cannot assert the truth of A and deny B.

An example is: giving birth to a human child presupposes being a woman, meaning it is inconsistent to claim that someone is giving birth to a human child but not a woman.

So we currently have two possibilities regarding the manner of how logic presupposes the Christian God.

* 1. A presupposes B in that one cannot make sense of A without assuming B.
* 2. A presupposes B in that A logically implies B and thus it is inconsistent to assert A and deny B.

With regard to (1) I shall show that we can make sense of deductive validity without belief in the Christian God.

As for (2) I do not see any contradiction in denying that Christianity is true and affirming the validity of the law of non-contradiction.

The Law of non-contradiction states that something cannot be both P and not P at the same time. (your pants cannot be both on and off simultaneously. To apply this to the TAG would be as follows:

A presupposes B in that A logically implies B and thus it is inconsistent to assert A and deny B

=The law of non-contradiction(A) presupposes the Christian God(B) in that (A) logically implies(B) and thus it is inconsistent to assert (A) and deny (B).

I do not see any absurdity in denying God and affirming the law of non-contradiction. Cleary doing so is not the same as denying that one who bears a child is a woman. Perhaps RK can show how this is absurd.

To that point RK may argue that the logical principles are dependent on God. If this is true, logical principles are contingent and not necessary. To this effect, I am almost certain that a presuppositionalist would argue that the logic is an intrinsic part of God’s nature and as such, logic is necessary. From this, it would be stated that since the principles of Logic are necessarily part of God’s nature, if God did not exist there would be no logic and subsequently no Law of Non-Contradiction. Following this line of reasoning, it would be absurd for me to deny God’s existence and affirm the law of non-contradiction.

First, one should be aware of the claim that logic is part of God’s nature. What does it mean to say this? We must first remember that:

God is defined as being supernatural. That is to say “Supernatural” is defined as being beyond nature (not natural). This is a negative definition and a broken concept. There is a fallacy committed when it is stated that God is supernatural but has a nature. Something that is beyond nature, may not possess a nature. (Fallacy of the Stolen Concept)

I am sure RK will argue that Nature and having a nature are two different concepts. This raises more issues. To argue this, you would be begging the question that we can speak of nature devoid of nature. Furthermore, basic ontology tells us that to exist is to have positive attributes. To define something as beyond nature is to define something as beyond ability, something beyond ability or something beyond limits cannot exist by definition. Yet this is not the only time in which the fallacy of the stolen concept is committed:

If God does not presuppose logic, and rather the contrary is true, how can we identify God as being God? For should God not presuppose logic, he must deny the very law of identity (that says a thing is what it is). Hence, the very statement “God exists and logic is his very nature” commits the fallacy of the stolen concept.

Further, when it is stated that logic is a part of God’s nature, there is a category error of the first order being made. Logic is a referrer to entities, not the entities in themselves. What does it mean to say that the nature of God is logical when logic refers only to arguments? Perhaps RK means that God has an ontological character, but I have shown that God cannot by definition.

Thus, the claim is made that it is incoherent to deny the existence of God because of his very nature. But what is this saying? It is merely a reformed version of the Ontological argument and concluding that God must exist necessarily because he is God.

If I am to accept this, RK must show the validity and soundness of one of the Ontological arguments. Otherwise, there is nothing incoherent about denying the existence of God.

However, there IS something incoherent about denying the law of non-contradiction. To further reiterate this point, consider the following:

* (1) It is not the case that it is not that P and not P (law of non-contradiction denied, meaning it would be possible for your pants to be both on and off simultaneously)

* (2) It is not the case that God exists.

From (1) we easily see a contradiction, but there is no such contradiction from (2) unless we apply a third premise stating that:

* (3) It is logically necessary that God exists.

Should RK want to make this claim, as I’ve said before, he will have to provide an Ontological argument showing that God’s existence is logically necessary.

It should also be further noted that (3) is often confused for another premise. There is a difference between God necessarily existing and God (if existing) necessarily having no beginning or end.

Consider:

* (4) It is logically necessary that if at any time God existed, then at every time He existed.

While (4) is required in presumably every branch of Christianity, and with good philosophical warrant, (3) isn’t. In fact very few theologians assert (3).

Even Dr. Frame, an advocate of the TAG has stated there is nothing inconsistent about denying the existence of God and affirming the law of non-contradiction in an exchange between him and Michael Martin.

As stated before, if the Law of Non-Contradiction logically implies the existence of God, then denying the existence of God should fault the law of Non-Contradiction. But we have not been show that this is the case:

Christian Philosopher Cornelius Van Til attempted to do so in his book “The Defense of the Faith” (pg 256-257) when he says:

“All predication presupposes the existence of God … while antitheism holds that predication is possible without any reference of God. This at once gives the terms ‘is’ and ‘is not’ quite different connotations. For the antitheist these terms play against the background of bare possibilities. Hence ‘is’ and ‘is not’ may very well be reversed. The antitheist has, if effect, denied the very Law of Non-contradiction, inasmuch as the Law of Non-contradiction, to operate at all, must have its foundation in God.””

To make sense of this statement, it is helpful to reformulate into an argument (as per Michael Martin):

(1) If the Christian God did not exist, then predication would operate against a background of bare possibility.

(2) If predication operates against a background of bare possibility, the predication of P to x ( x is P) may be reversed and ~ P might be predicated of x ( x is ~ P)

(3) But if the predication of P to x ( x is P) is reversed and ~ P is be predicated of x ( x is ~ P), then the Law of Non-contradiction must be denied.
________________________________________________
(4) Therefore, If the Christian God did not exist, then the Law of Non-contradiction must be denied

There are several problems, however. In (1) Van Til uses the term “background of bare possibility”, referring to the realm of logical possibility. We can then grant that the Law of Non-contradiction MUST hold because without that holding, by definition, there is no logically possibility. That is to say, logical possibility is determined by the Law of Non-Contradiction.

(1) States that if predication operates via logical possibility, then we may reverse the predications completely. The suggestion is to say that we can have a blanket be orange at one time and not orange at another time. Granted, but this is no way necessitates that the blanket can be orange and not orange simultaneously. Henceforth, (3) is false. Reversing the predicate does not change the Law of Non-Contradiction. As such, the argument is unsound and we can reject (4).

In closing, I have shown that there are issues with the very presentation of the term “God”, the inability of the TAG to establish its conclusion, and lastly the failure of the claim that logic is dependent on God. As I’ve said, should this be so, one could not deny God and affirm logic, but one can. It would only be inconsistent to deny God, if his existence was logically necessary, and this is not the case (note that even if God existed, he need not necessarily be logically necessary). RK has, in effect, has purported (and assumed) the conclusion of the Ontological argument without defending it.

RazorsKiss (Rebuttal):

Having success in using the laws of logic is not the same as saying that you have a warrant to be using it.

The question is about whether we have warrant for considering logic as axiomatic.

It seems apparent to me that Mitch is not providing a justification for using the law that he is using – nor did I see a case that did anything to disprove mine.

He is simply saying that it is usable – the same problem Martin falls into, in his TANG

That is not the question. On what grounds can it be considered warranted to be using abstract universals which apply to all (created) thinking beings? I have a proper ground to be doing so.

Obviously, an atheist is able to /operate/ with success using the logical laws which his brain operates according to. In fact, they MUST do so.

The question at hand is not whether – but /why/ he is using them.

Another subject I’d like to address are what clearly seem to be equivocations on his part. First, his insistence that “supernatural” is a negative definition.

“Super” is not a negative, but a maximal descriptor, as he should well know.

Mitch, with his studies in religion, should also know that “immaterial” is not the only descriptor of that characteristic of God.

The typical term is “Spirit”. The reason “immaterial” is often used is to point out that it is antithetical to matter.

Antithesis does not require derivation from his preferred term.

God is Spirit, as Scripture plainly teaches. God is NOT “not material”. That is the distinction.

I am also amazed at his choice of terminology – as if his making this (seemingly arbitrary) distinction therefore means that there is no longer any conception of God being defined by His attributes in a positive fashion – as I clearly did in my opening statement.

Further, I found his discussion concerning “extrapolating” unconvincing.

God has given us positive statements of His own attributes in His Scriptures.

In fact, He specifically speaks about the Transcendence of His attributes!

“For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:9)

Smith’s assertion to follow simply points more clearly toward the inherent assumption – that God’s self-descriptions are insufficient to be considered. They are passed over, walked by, as if they do not even exist.

While Mitch may agree with Smith – it remains a naked assertion.

When he says that: “To say that God is ‘good’ or ‘wise’ is to say nothing more than some unknowable being possesses some unknown qualities in an unknowable way;” this remains an assertion.

While Mitch may assert that there is no “cognitive meaning associated” – all this says is what we knew already. Unbelievers don’t believe, and think there is something inherently wrong with the concept.

While this may seem to follow from Mitch’s presupposed conception that there is something wrong with using the term “immaterial” – please note that I did not use the term, and that the term is being used in a very… “interesting” way.

I find it interesting that Mitch dismisses, due to an equivocation, the fact that God has many self-descriptions in Scripture – and there are many, many positive ones.

Since he was, I can’t help but think, insufficiently rigorous in that analysis, I will also turn toward his next point.

First, I have to point out that his analysis of TAG misses.. a lot of the “meat” to the argument.

I had to smile when I read this portion: “I think the example is clear enough, but it should be noted once more. TAG cannot establish the truth of God’s existence, only the inconsistency of atheists who hold a presupposition regarding deductive logic.”

The problem with saying this – is that this is precisely what I intend.

I’m not arguing for the existence of God.

That is not the point of the debate.

My intent, precisely, is what Mitch listed above.

If any worldview is inconsistent – incoherent – *especially* in epistemological terms – it cannot be proper grounds for all knowledge.

What also strikes me as interesting is that Mitch has apparently missed the central portion of the argument – it is epistemological. If your epistemology fails, it all fails. I tried to point out, in my opening statement, that the discussion was epistemological. The argument, throughout, save one small part, is completely to do with the existence of God.

What Mitch seems to be attempting is a defeater of the TAG argument. I’m not making the TAG argument for the existence of God. I’m making a case for the epistemological primacy, ultimacy, and sole sufficiency of the Triune God of Scripture. Instead, the reply is to TAG – and using primarily Martin’s work. That is not the context. It reminds me of Dr. Gordon Stein arguing against every possible theistic argument for the existence of God – except the one that Dr. Bahnsen argued for. Which happens to be the one he’s arguing against tonight!

In a similar way, Mitch’s argument was directed at God’s *existence*. The argument is not concerning God existence. The argument is concerning God’s self-asserted epistemological primacy – and the inability of any other epistemological claimant to provide knowledge in a warranted way.

He also mentions that I might argue that logical principles are dependent upon God. That is true, to an extent – but not to the extent he claims. I am going to argue that God is not only the ordainer, but creator of the logical laws we use – and that He transcends them, as we mentioned earlier, in Isaiah. The logical laws are the correlative, yet lesser reflection of God’s inherent order. So, while they are necessary in an immediate sense to created beings – they are NOT necessary, in an ultimate sense, to God. God is, as the Scriptures remind us, self-sufficient.

On that note, the rest of his argument concerning God and that claim is irrelevant – and I can move on.

In a similar vein, I certainly raised an eyebrow at this statement: “God is defined as being supernatural. That is to say “Supernatural” is defined as being beyond nature (not natural). This is a negative definition and a broken concept. There is a fallacy committed when it is stated that God is supernatural but has a nature. Something that is beyond nature, may not possess a nature. (Fallacy of the Stolen Concept) I am sure RK will argue that Nature and having a nature are two different concepts. This raises more issues. To argue this, you would be begging the question that we can speak of nature devoid of nature.”

My opponent, I’m afraid, has seriously equivocated here. Badly. To take one sense of a word, and insist that it means the same thing in every context is.. absurd.

There is a sense of the word “nature” which applies to the entirety of the created order, as “natural” entities. Physical. However, I’m sure he also knows that the “nature of” an object, person, or concept can be the “essence” of something. For instance. In the typical Trinitarian formula, God is one being – with three persons. I’m sure he has encountered this definition before, but just to help him, I’ll restate it – God is of one /nature/, with three distinct persons.

I think that this sufficiently points out the equivocation in question. Second, “(t)his raises more issues. To argue this, you would be begging the question that we can speak of nature devoid of nature” – seems an odd assertion. Are you suggesting that there are only material objects, and only they have properties? I was under the impression that you are not a materialist.

As I wrap this up, I sincerely hope that Mitch can rebut with something more suitable to the actual argument I made. When most of your argument is predicated upon equivocation (nature, immaterial), a point that is inapplicable (that I believe that the logic we are constrained by is also somehow binding upon God, and God must therefore be within the same limits, despite His transcendent nature) – it cannot succeed very far. The resolution is that the Triune God of Scripture is the proper grounds for all knowledge. Not that the Triune God of Scripture exists. Additionally, the argument is that any logical system without a warrant to justify its use is incoherent, and therefore unable to make consistent objections. Hopefully, we get back on the rails, and we can address the topics we came to discuss. Thank You.

MitchLeBlanc (Rebuttal):

RK criticizes me for arguing against the existence of God rather than his epistemology. Am I mistaken in understanding that RK’s epistemology IS the existence of God?

RK states that he is not arguing for the existence of God, and as such the point I made about the TAG being insufficient in regard to showing the existence of said deity is assumed. Surely, his utterance of “impossibility of the contrary” is an attempt to establish from his descriptor of my logical inability, to the truth of his claim. That would simply be a non-sequitur.

RK has argued that while I may have been successful in my use of the laws of logic, I am still without warrant. He also stated that he did not see a case showing that his is incorrect. Perhaps he did not see my explanation as to how the laws of logic can operate without God. According to RK, if God does not exist logic fails. If this is true, how can I affirm the use of logic with the negation of God?

Perhaps RK is thinking that I can’t, since it’s simply a self-evident fact that God exists and denying it is foolishness. Well, to him I say, show me the ontological argument you used to affirm this statement. Otherwise, it is bare unsubstantiated assertion.

If RK were perhaps to argue (as he says he is not) that since his worldview “makes sense” therefore God, that would be a form of petitio principii (begging the question):

Yahweh is the source of all knowledge

Knowledge exists.

Therefore Yahweh.

How can RK possibly argue that I did not address the claims of epistemology, when his claim that logic cannot operate independent of God was the largest focus of my statements? I have shown this very claim to be false.

I would point out that RK did not address my argument showing the laws of logic operating with a premise of denial of God’s existence, something that should be impossible for his worldview.

In regards to God as a spirit, the problem RK falls into is simply the inability to define what a spirit is, in positive terms. I have no doubt he can tell me what a spirit is not, but this gets us nowhere.

Rk also stated, with regard to logic as God’s nature that: “while they are necessary in an immediate sense to created beings – they are NOT necessary, in an ultimate sense, to God”. What does this mean? Logical principles are either necessary or contingent. He says God is self-sufficient, well precisely what is the “self” to which he suffices himself? Notice the clear personification of God, yet we seem to have had nothing with substance said to us. The laws are reflections of his order? So God’s nature is logical? We have not even established what that means! As I said, logic is a referrer to entities. So is God’s nature an argument?

RK criticized me, with regard to “speaking of nature devoid of nature”. I’m afraid he misunderstands. I am not taking one sense of the word and stating that it means the same. In fact, I predicted he would say this. The real issue at hand is an ontological one, “what does it mean to be?”, “what does it mean to possess characteristics”, “what does it mean to have a nature?”.

As for the basis of my own knowledge, it should again be noted that since RK’s claim may make sense of logic, it doesn’t follow that logic needs to be made sense of. I will use the remainder of my rebuttal to supplement my position. With that said, my epistemological declaration is perhaps best defined as that of Objectivism. First, I should define axioms:

An axiomatic concept is “is the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts. It is implicit in all facts and in all knowledge. It is the fundamentally given and directly perceived or experienced, which requires no proof or explanation, but on which all proofs and explanations rest” – Ayn Rand

And:

“The first and primary axiomatic concepts are “existence,” “identity” (which is a corollary of “existence”) and “consciousness.” One can study what exists and how consciousness functions; but one cannot analyze (or “prove”) existence as such, or consciousness as such. These are irreducible primaries.”

From these axioms, I establish that of existence, identity and consciousness. In the case of the existence axiom, I can state “existence exists”. In the case of the identity axiom, which is corollary of “existence”, I can say that “to exist is to be something specific, to have identity”. This leads me to my third axiom of “consciousness”, from which I can state that “consciousness is consciousness of something”.

We can, at all times, know with certainty that something must exist to be known, this something must have identity and our knowing reflects the fact that we are conscious.

The issue posed then, is how these axioms apply to metaphysics. We can move in either one of two direction. The primacy of existence or the primacy of consciousness.

The primacy of existence, that is, taking the existence axiom prior to that of consciousness recognizes that existence exists independent of consciousness. That is to say, reality does not conform to the contents of consciousness, things are simply existent regardless of people’s subjective wishes, desires, emotions, etc. And granted that existence exists, that which exists is that which exists (identity axiom). With this primacy, consciousness does not DETERMINE reality, but identifies it.

The primacy of consciousness states that existence is subordinate to consciousness and that things are not the way they are by virtue of the fact of their existence, but rather because of the desires of consciousness. By this primacy, one would be justified in the belief that willing flying cows to rise out of the water will result in flying cows rising out of the water.

We can reject the primacy of consciousness on the basis that it rejects the self-evident truth of the existence principle. But perhaps more importantly, it commits the fallacy of the stolen concept (we are seeing that a lot tonight). It attempts to assert consciousness PRIOR to existence. Insofar as consciousness is the being conscious of something, the notion of consciousness arising prior to existence asserts the concept why denying the precondition of existence. The primacy of consciousness violates the very hierarchy of objective knowledge, we can conclude that any philosophy that is build upon this primacy cannot be consistent with rational knowledge.

Unfortunately, Christianity is one such philosophy. Christianity asserts that some form of consciousness created everything. This simply cannot be true from the outright, as the very consciousness which is purported to have created existence must exist prior to doing any creating. Stating that the Universe was “created” attempts to explain the axiom “existence exists” by asserting something prior, specifically Yahweh, a form of consciousness that created through an act of will. We simply cannot assert anything prior to existence.

As such, any question with attempts to ask “Where did existence come from?” or “How did existence come to be?” will result in answers which commit the fallacy of the stolen concept. We can see that from the very beginning, the Christian worldview has denied the metaphysical primacy of existence.

But how does this relate to the TAG? We must analyze the effect that the assertion has on the law of identity. Christianity states that identity of objects is dependent upon the will or desires of God… identity is dependent on consciousness.

Christianity, then, by definition is a form of metaphysical subjectivism.

Bahnsen (an advocate of the TAG) does not hide this fact, he states:

“the very essence of created reality is its revelational character”

The Christian worldview in regards to reality asserts that reality is a creation of consciousness. Thus, reality cannot be absolute, by definition. What is said to have created reality in the first place is simultaneously the final authority. The ultimate standard for the Christian is then merely the whim of God.

RK might reply that “God is a rational God”, but notes how this begs the question and reduces to a fallacy of pure self-reference.

The standard of reason and logic is the law of identity, but if identity is merely a derivative of consciousness than on which basis can consciousness have identity itself? If reality is a creation, and its creator is consciousness, is consciousness real? If one is to claim that it is, why do we need to point to this God to explain reality in the first place? Merely uttering the instance of a “God created reality” is a stolen concept arising from the belief that God exists.

So when the TAG tells us that the Christian worldview is the only one that can make sense of reality, is this true? A being that is perfect and omniscient surely has no need for reason in the first place. If said being is consciousness, the purpose of said consciousness is to identify the facts of reality… but what need would this God have to “reason”, since it already knows all the facts. It should be evident at this point that the Christian worldview, and the “Primacy of consciousness” has certain epistemological ramifications. When an advocate is asked, “How does God know”, surely we’d hear that “he just does”.

By this token, and insofar as the TAG asserts that the Christian worldview is the very basis for reason it is obviously wrong. The primacy of consciousness destroys reason and knowledge, it does not enable it.

How can the TAG possibly accuse all non-Christian thought as being relative, when the assertion it makes itself is that of metaphysical relativism? The entire worldview is full of ’stolen concepts’ and seeks to defend against what it commits itself.

RazorsKiss questions MitchLeBlanc:

RK: My first question: In Exodus 3:14, we read this: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” – Is this a positive statement concerning the essence, properties, or nature of God?

ML: It doesn’t tell us anything whatsoever, it’s neither positive nor negative.

RK: So, the sentence above: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” – has no content, whatsoever?

ML: Well, “I AM WHO I AM” seems to be cognitively meaningless. PIG IS PIG, DONKEY IS DONKEY, etc… it has not furthered understanding.

RK: Are you aware that this is considered to be the essential name of God in Scripture?

ML: Yes, but a name is not a description.

RK: What does the phrase “I am” mean, when in the following proposition: “I think, therefore I am”?

ML: It denotes existence.

RK: So, when God is saying “I AM” – and repeats it, this is implying self-existence, per Hebrew grammar. Are you aware that names in the Hebrew Old Testament are all intended to have meanings?

ML: I am aware now, thank you.

RK: Were you cognizant, prior to this debate, that the word “nature” has a distinct and historical meaning, when it pertains to theology?

ML: I am cognizant to the colloquial, scientific and philosophical meaning of the word. Perhaps these preclude the theological.

RK: That didn’t answer my question. Were you aware, as a student of the philosophy of religion, or any other capacity, that “nature” was used historically in a theological sense – such as in the definition of the council of Nicea, concerning the Trinity?

ML: I do recall there being an issue of difference between prior and post uses of the term. But I am unsure as to the specifics. (prior being the Arian usage)

RK: What is logic?

ML: As I said in my opening, logic is a referrer to entities.

RK: Do abstract objects exist?

ML: Yes, objects such as numbers exist.

RK: Does the abstract object “logic” exist?

ML: Logic isn’t a thing, it’s a referrer to things.

RK: Why did you just refer to it?

ML: I made a linguistical reference to logic, justified perhaps pragmatically.

RK: Do you agree that referring to “logic”, whether mentally or linguistically – as it is an abstract object – would be a reference to that object?

ML: No, I have not agreed that logic is an object.

RK: “Logic is logically necessary” – Why isn’t that definition circular?

ML: Well, to be logically necessary means that X can be applied in every possible world. You asked if Logic has any properties, so I have offered “necessity” as a property.

RK: What is the definition of an object?

ML: To be as an entity… though I think there is much debate over this very question in the community.

RK: Isn’t the most common definition for “object” – “Something that has properties”?

ML: I am not sure, I do know that Frege struggled in differentiating object from concept, as it seems that “something that has properties” would apply to concepts as well.

RK: Last question: Why are your axioms justified, as they seem to be predicated on the laws of logic; doesn’t this nullify their standing as axiomatic?

ML: Well, an axiom is “a primary fact of reality which cannot be analyzed (reduced into other facts or broken down). Are you asking why my axiom “existence exists” is justified?

RK: If they are not identical to the laws of logic, why are they thus considered justified, as axioms?

ML: Because they are undeniable.

MitchLeBlanc questions RazorsKiss:

ML: What makes the Christian God the sole basis for reason over all of the other Gods?

RK: First, all the other gods do not exist, as they do not possess the requisite properties, as I outlined in my opener. Second, the reason The Triune God of Scripture is that sole basis is because He is the self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, Creator of all things, who is both able to communicate the content of those properties, and has done so throughout history, as recorded in His self-revelatory Scriptures.

ML: All propositions of God assert him as self-existent, self-sufficient, etc… these are not unique to Christianity, what makes Christianity different?

RK: There is no other claimant for the title “God” who asserts the sum total of the properties in question, has demonstrated them throughout history, as well as communicating them to humanity with the sufficiency and perspicuity evident in the Christian Scriptures.

ML: It seems to me that your logical system is hierarchical in nature, with God forming the basis and the chain continuing on thuswards. Does the statement “God exists” logically necessitate that “God has a son”?

RK: No, as the Son is one of the eternally existent persons in the ontological Trinity. As it was famously stated at Nicea – there was never a time when the Son was not, in contraposition to Arius’ novel claim to the contrary.

ML: Since “every time I reason, I borrow from the Christian worldview”, am I to assume that I am accepting God’s existence, Jesus’ virgin birth, the 12 disciples, the betrayal of Jesus, etc as philosophical principles?

RK: Yes, as they are facts in the history of the earth that God created, and you inhabit. They are not dependent on your interpretation of them. When it comes to how you interpret /all/ facts you encounter, the noetic effects of sin will be in operation, and your denial of knowledge (as in justified knowledge) of those facts will follow of necessity.

ML: Why is it that the necessary preconditions for the intelligibly of human experience are contingent upon God being three persons and not four, the virgin birth rather than popping into existence, then 12 disciples rather than 13, etc?

RK: For the first question, because God is the one who created all things we are able to experience, and He has 3 persons. Second, the virgin birth was the means the Father ordained to accomplish Christ’s incarnation, due to the requirements of justice for payment of the penalty for sin, and 12 disciples were analogous to the 12 tribes of national Israel. To answer why they are necessary – because God is the one who determines possibilities, given that all possibilities are occurring in the realm of His exhaustive providence.

ML: That is not precisely the question. If I accept all of these factors are philosophical principles when reasoning, what effect would the 12 disciples being 13 disciples have on my reasoning? Surely, with a change in principle comes a change in reasoning altogether.

RK: Impossibilities have no effect on your reasoning. They do not exist. Dr. Craig would give you a different answer, perhaps – but I’m not Dr. Craig.

ML: So the existence of one more disciple would have no effect on my reasoning. It seems then that the manner in which the events occurred are arbitrary. I will not press this point. Does your knowledge of God arise from the scriptures that you believe he authored?

RK: No, there was no additional disciple in the 12 chosen by Christ, and following him throughout Galilee. Advancing impossibilities as arguments is not coherent. My knowledge of God is two-fold – first, through His Scriptures, which is His informational self-revelation, (despite your assertion that it lacked no coherent content earlier) and the natural revelation of His glory in the created order – which is only sufficient to convict a man, and render him without excuse for his sins of thought and action.

ML: And from your aforementioned sources, you derive the goodness, power, coherency, knowingness, etc of God?

RK: Yes, Scripture states that God is good, that He is Almighty, that He is a God of order, not confusion, and that He knows even the thoughts of men (as well as the entirety of His creation) when He “knows all things”. The Created order attests to these things as well, in a lesser, and more inferential way – but as I said, that is sufficient merely to condemn.

ML: What if God is deceiving you?

RK: “…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, [even] His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior…” (Titus 1:2-3) . God cannot lie.

ML: But God was the author (or inspiration) of those very words. If his intent was to deceive, he has just succeeded. I ask again, what if God is deceiving you?

RK: For if [the] dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith [is] futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. ~ 1 Cor 15:9

ML: Again, all scripture and proposed action of God are immediately discounted if the motivation in fact was to deceive. Can you show that God is not deceiving you in all your knowledge of him?

RK: If God intended to deceive, He would not be God. He would be Satan. Therefore, you would likely have to use the TANS argument. A God of that character is not God at all, and therefore, yet again, another impossible (redefinition) advanced as an argument. If we could win by redefining things, debates would be fairly short affairs 🙂

ML: “If God intended to deceive, He would not be God. He would be Satan.” – Is this statement not based off of information expedited to you from the same deity in question?

RK: A God who is evil instead of good, who is a liar rather than the truth, is mutable rather than immutable, and imperfect rather than perfect, unjust rather than just… we could go on. Your questions all seem to entail redefinitions. “if God had an impossible definition for any being claiming to be the God you believe in, or any god at all, could he do _X_”. To claim that the antithesis of the self-existent and omnipotent God that I believe in is possible – seems to be.. a stretch.

ML: I cannot help but feel you are being evasive at this point. Every bit of the knowledge of God you have, comes from his proposed self-revelation. If God’s intent was surely to deceive you, are you saying he could not? Would you know? Your argument is as follows: God does not deceive. Proposed being X deceives. Therefore X is not God. You are begging the question RK.

RK: Sir, I’m not going to change my answer because you continue to ask it. “God” entails the properties already outlined. If a being does not conform to those properties, as I answered in response to your very first question – that is no god at all. I’m not going to contradict myself so that you can continue your argument. Further, I’ve stated, multiple times, that God is axiomatic to all human reasoning. You’re asking me, on the basis of your presupposition, to overthrow everything I’ve said thus far, to answer a question the way you prefer.

ML: I forego the remainder of my questions to accelerate our brief conclusions and allow for the patient audience to submit questions of their own.

MitchLeBlanc (Conclusion):

In conclusion, I must say that I am disappointed that my arguments given in my introduction were not addressed. Insofar as it was proposed that if God did not exist, logic would fail. I have clearly shown that this is not the case. I am also disappointed that it was constantly asserted that I have no basis for a logical system, but never shown that I have no basis.

If logic truly is so dependent on God, why was my argument which showed the contrary not addressed? Furthermore, I must ask which reasons we have heard tonight that RK’s epistemological system should be preferred over my own. In that respect, on which basis has RK shown that the principles of logic even require justification! Creating questions for the sole purpose of answering them, isn’t an award winning tactic.

Lastly, with regards to the QandA. I proposed the question, “What if God is deceiving you?” Rk’s response that if this was the case, said being would not be God. This strikes me as very similar to the No True Scotsman fallacy. A man sits down and reads the newspaper, where it is said that a man murdered several people and he is believed to be Scottish. The man then replies, “No Scotsman would do that!” The next day, when he reads that it was indeed a Scotsman, he states… “well, no TRUE Scotsman would do that”.

I simply do not understand how it is possible to state, with certainty, that God does not (or cannot) deceive you, when such a statement is based off of only what God himself has revealed to you. RK repeatedly stated that a God who lies simply would not be God… the proper explanation perhaps is that “The God who lies would not meet my criteria for God, and my criteria is correct.” The very last point is curious, as should God indeed be deceptive, said criteria would falter immediately.

As I have said, I am saddened that several points of good discussion were dismissed haphazardly, but I am grateful to have had the chance to discuss this issue with RK.

Thank you for listening patiently.

RazorsKiss (Conclusion):

Along with Mitch, I’m disappointed that the arguments presented were not addressed. Also along with Mitch, I’m disappointed that it was mine that were unaddressed! When I rebutted Mitch, I pointed out that his conception of the necessity of created logic applying to God was at fault for the failure of his argument.

I said: “while they are necessary in an immediate sense to created beings – they are NOT necessary, in an ultimate sense, to God. God is, as the Scriptures remind us, self-sufficient.”

This seems to have been missed in the subsequent discussion, and as stated, was why I did not address his arguments along that line further. They were not against my position, but against the position he claimed I held.

I’d also like to point out that a large bulk of Mitch’s arguments rested on redefinition. I am the Christian, taking the affirmative. While he’s quite capable of considering God as other than He is – and of contemplating logical impossibilities – they are just that. Impossibilities.

When I take the affirmative, I bear the burden of definition. When Mitch rested the majority of his case on redefinition – of the terms for God, of the words I use to describe Him, and takes them out of both the historical and linguistic context which I can’t help but think he is aware of, given his field of study, it seems to indicate that he is indenting to conduct the debate on the grounds of redefinition. Nature DOES, and HAS applied to the essence and properties of the being of God. Immaterial, a word I did not use, was constructed as a straw man against my position.

Further, he also tried to build his case on another word I did not use – supernatural. I understand that he didn’t know what my opening statement was going to be – but using the terms in that way – then ignoring their context on the basis of his own (and I consider to be strange) definitions leaves me scratching my head.

We’ve heard from Mitch that I never made a case against his position. That is only partially true. As the affirmative, my primary places to “counter-attack” are in the rebuttals, and in the cross-ex. Since he did not give a positive statement of his position until the rebuttal, my only chance to reply, save right here, was in the cross-ex. A look at the cross-examination period, and the brevity of his answers leaves it clear to me that he intended to answer as little as possible. While that is his prerogative, stating that I didn’t argue sufficiently – when he knows that presuppositionalism is an indirect system, is a bit misleading.

So, I’m going to take this opportunity to expand my thoughts from the cross-ex. As I was trying to get Mitch to admit, his system is built on a presupposed absolutist logic. This absoluteness of logic itself is not stated in the axioms – it is effectively hidden beneath the 3 axioms he professes. “Existence exists”, for instance, while correlative to the law of identity, is not identical to it. To be identical, it would have to be… more similar to God’s statement in Exodus – I am that I am.

As he expresses it, in accordance with Rand, the reality is that two *distinct* concepts are presented. “Existence”, which is an abstract, and what it does – “exists”. Existence, therefore, has the property of existing. Yet another abstract – which *exists*. Further, saying that “to exist is to be something specific, to have identity” – you are once again not restating a law of logic. You are stating that to exist, you must have identity. This is, again, correlative, but not identical.

So, we have a system with axioms which use laws that require their existence. We still haven’t had a satisfying answer as to, as I asked him, why logic isn’t an abstract logic – but these other concepts are – like existence – and why they are justified. Further, they are based in nothing, whatsoever, which grants them justification. He can claim they are axioms – but objectivism has been widely criticized, as Mitch attempted to do concerning my position, for being utterly arbitrary. What objectivism assumes is that man’s existence, identity, and consciousness are autonomous, and “objective”. What is being objected to, as I stated in my opener, is a man standing with his feet firmly planted in midair, and claiming to be the standard for his own thinking.

While I applaud him for having the debate, I would have wished that he had redirected his argument to my own, that it would not have been so dependent on redefinitions, and that we could have had a more fruitful exchange in cross-examination. I was more than willing to be forthcoming. I wish he would have done me the courtesy as well. I thank you all for watching, I thank Mitch for his patience, and I thank our moderators for this evening’s debate.

Question and Answer:

EoZ: (the replacement moderator) Dear RK, “In your opening dialouge, you spoke of a limited ability to have knowledge, for those who do not have an epistimological foundation such as yourself. However, you later conceded “I see no possible way for that assertion to be justified.” in reference to an unbeliever viewing him or herself as an ultimate basis for epistimology. Could your own, conceded, limited perception, be a contributing factor, leading you to a falsely constructed conclusion, convoluted and serving as confirmation bias insofar as as a self-reassuring mechanism by which you preclude against your view being simply your belief or understanding of the facts, but as some fact, regardless of belief?” – VTS

RK: If i understand the question correctly, it’s asking if I could be biasing myself, having no independent source at all, just my own opinion.
EoZ: VTS, is his understanding correct?
VTS: in part, yes.
RK: As far as that goes… the Christian has as his basis Scripture. This is not simply standing alone – but has the “sensus divinitatus”, as Calvin terms it, also in operation due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer.
EoZ: Would you like to clarify so he understands the whole complete question, or is that sufficient?
VTS: Basically, is the “failure to see” real? Is it possible your perspective is self-serving, thus bringing you to a conclusion that is (by extension) clouded by personal bias…
VTS: does that clarify?
RK: As the Spirit is also, per Scripture, the author of the revelation, it’s the equivalent of having the author of the book standing over your shoulder, and correcting your faulty understandings, and continually adjusting your noetic “issues” as He also works to sanctify you in obedience to that revealed Word.
EoZ: Okay, to move things along. VTS, does that sufficiently answer your question or do you have more?
RK: Well, if we’re all deluded, as Paul says, we’re “men most to be pitied”. As I said, we have the Author of that revelation as our guide to the understanding of it. That is one of the reasons that I find in my experience, there tends to be a significant problem with the understanding of Scriptural principles by non-Christians. It’s not that I’m saying we’re “smarter” – by any stretch of the imagination – if you understand my theology, that’s well-nigh impossible.
vtsquire: no, I dont think that sufficiently answered my question.
RK: For a conceivable non-truth of the Christian worldview – Paul says we are “most to be pitied”. So, if you’re right, it stinks to be us. How’s that?
EoZ: VTS, so would you like to ask additional questions to further the topic, or
VTS: to put my point most bluntly, are you making a claim to knowledge, or making a claim to belief that you have knowledge?
RK: I am making a claim that I have mediate knowledge from the only possible source that is justifiable. ie: It’s not me, it’s God in me, as Scripture says.
RK: In my opener I went out of my way to point out that Christians, if they are to act like Christians, have as much claim to epistemological autonomy as a chair. God is who works in me, and through me. It’s never due to man. (Which is probably as opposite to objectivism as possible, but there ya go.)
VTS: okay, that’s a sufficient answer to me

EoZ: Okay, very good. Now, just to be fair to poor Mitch, I’m asking my question to him, then RK.

EoZ: Mitch, how could RK prove his position to you as the affirmative? How do you believe he did not do so here?
RK: Yeah! 🙂
ML: Well the problem with the position it is that it is not an argument. It’s simply a bare assertion. He could begin to prove his position to me by addressing the argument I presented which showed that logic presupposing the Christian worldview is false. I also wouldn’t mind hearing that Ontological argument which must be the basis for RK’s position (though not stated, I am sure it is there) that God’s existence is logically necessary…
EoZ: Alright, that works.

EoZ: And we got another question to Mitch from our very own VTS.
EoZ: “I have the same essential question to Mitch. They both conceded “I fail to see ________” Mitch, is it possible that this concession contains within it an admission that your position may be based on an inability on your part to be flexible in your thinking, thus leading you your conclusion, that may thereby be possibly false?” – VTS
RK: I’d like to respond to Mitch’s points afterwards, but I’ll let him get on to bed 🙂
EoZ: RK, I would let you normally, but time is VERY short.
RK: That’s fine – I have a blog 🙂
ML: My epistemology doesn’t exclude God outright, in many ways it remains completely agnostic until establishing axioms. The axioms which are undenaible are established, and then we work from there. It is possible that there is something that I’m missing from RK’s statements, but it would not be to my denial of God from the outright. In that respect, I am not similar to a materialist.

EmpireOfZombies: Okay, asking mine, and that’s it.

EoZ: Part 1. is God the ultimate standard for morality?
RK: Yes.
EoZ: Yay! Simple answer.
RK: Simple question 🙂
EoZ: Now, I’m going to post two quotes by you.
EoZ:: RazorsKiss If God intended to deceive, He would not be God. He would be Satan. Therefore, you would likely have to use the TANS argument. A God of that character is no God of all, and therefore, yet again, another impossible (redefinition) advanced as an argument. If we could win by redefining things, debates would be fairly short affairs 2:23 .. *not God at all
RazorsKiss A God who is evil instead of good, who is a liar rather than the truth, is mutable rather than immutable, and imperfect rather than perfect, unjust rather than just… we could go on. Your questions all seem to entail redefinitions. “if God had an impossible definition for any being claiming to be the God you believe in, or any god at all, could he do _X_”. To claim that the antithesis of the self-existent and omnipotent God that I believe in is possible – seems to be.. a stretch. 2:28 .. If there was a so-called “god” who intended to deceive – that being would not be any god at all.
RK: Okay.
EoZ: My questions are, if God intended to deceive, from what standard would you contrive that he is not God if your standard IS God? IF God deceives, from what standard do you derive lying as wrong for God? If it is God, and he lies, why is it wrong? What makes lying immoral if God were to do it? To me, this seems as if you are asserting a personal standard.
RK: That was precisely why I said that such questions are impossibilities, as they attempt to redefine a being that is self-existent, self-sufficient, immutable, unchanging, and etc. Such a thing is an impossibility. The point that is missed is that my relationship with God is not merely intellectual. It is personal. I know God, in my creaturely way, as Persons. I communicate, I am acted upon, and act on behalf of. In short, the question seeks to divorce God’s attributes, and to redefine God as a different sort of being – one which I do not know, do not communicate with, and do not have relation to.
RK: That should wrap it up, correct?
EoZ: Almost. I’m responding.
RK: Mitch, I appreciate the debate. Hopefully we can arrange logistics better for the next one 🙂
ML: Yes, a much shorter format is needed

EoZ: if God has freewill, why are hypotheticals not possible? Free will would denote all things are possible for God.

RK: Because there is a lack of distinction made between creation/creator, their disparate natures, and the relationship between them. God is free in that He does whatever He wills. Whatever God wills, on the transcendent level, is the determiner for what is possible – on the created level. It’s like trying to ask why a child can’t make his parent do whatever they think is possible. What the child is capable of doing do is whatever is possible for the child – but in this case, the parent can, and has, determined all possible events, whatsoever, that will come to pass. So there isn’t any frame of reference, aside from God’s self-description, to tell us this. If His word is accurate, there are no free atoms, there is no free energy – there is only God’s determination of all causal events.

EoZ: Alright, to the debaters, good job.
EoZ: Thanks for debating.
EoZ: To the audience, thank you.
.RK: Yes, thanks!
ML: Thanks….
RK: Even though you’re all asleep..
ML: (I am about to collapse)
RK: Me too. Thanks for the debate, bro. Now get to bed 🙂
ML: thanks
ML: goodnight
RK: Seeya, and thanks again.
EoZ: Night guys.

(I will likely add in some commentary soonish, so check back)

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